Vetras Posts Career Day to Lead Jeffs in 38-7 Win at Bowdoin

Alex Vetras '11 threw for a career-high 340 yards and three touchdowns against Bowdoin.

BRUNSWICK, ME – Alex Vetras ’11 (Bellevue, WA) threw for a career-high 340 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Bunker ’12 (Topsfield, MA) ran for another pair of scores to lead the Amherst College football team in a 38-7 win at Bowdoin College’s Whittier Field Saturday afternoon.

The Lord Jeffs, who are out-scoring opponents by an 82-7 margin this season, improve to 2-0, while the Polar Bears drop to 0-2. Saturday marked Bowdoin’s worst home loss since October of 2006, a 34-0 setback to Trinity.

Amherst leads Bowdoin in the all-time series, 69-17-2, and has won 16 of the past 18 meetings. The Bears have not successfully defended their home field against the Jeffs since 1998. Highlighting the afternoon for the hosts was wide receiver Pat Noone ’12, who caught five passes to set the school’s all-time career receptions record (98).

The Jeffs won last year’s showdown with Bowdoin in dramatic fashion, scoring the game-tying touchdown and kicking the go-ahead extra point with only 2:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. Amherst bypassed the dramatics this time around by scoring on its first three possessions to carry a 21-0 lead into the second quarter, scoring the first 38 points of the game before the Polar Bears got on the board with 3:23 left in regulation.

Vetras used seven receivers to eclipse the 300-yard mark for the first time in his career, with five of his targets racking up at least 48 yards apiece. Andre Gary ’11 (Exeter, NH), Brian Murphy ’11 (Evanston, IL) and Will Reed ’12 (Riverside, CT) each caught a touchdown pass for the Jeffs, while Ben Kettering ’12 (Fairmont, WV) and Andrew Reed ’12 (Riverside, CT) added 67 and 68 receiving yards, respectively.

Amherst entered the weekend averaging 254.2 rushing yards per game against Bowdoin since 2000, and the visitors continued that success by gaining 162 of their 502 total yards via the ground attack. After rushing for 96 yards a touchdown last week against Bates, Bunker carried the ball 12 times for 73 yards to lead the ground game against the Polar Bears. Saturday marked the first multi-touchdown performance of Bunker’s career.

For the second consecutive game, the Amherst offensive line did not allow the opposition to sack Vetras. The Jeffs’ defensive line, meanwhile, sacked Bowdoin quarterback R.J. Shea ’12 four times for a total loss of 23 yards. Amherst scored on each of its five trips inside the red zone and converted eight of its 15 third down opportunities, while Bowdoin was 5-of-14 on third downs and 1-of-4 on fourth downs.

Lineman Kevin Ferber '12 recorded five tackles and a pair of sacks against Bowdoin.

The Jeffs received the opening kickoff and promptly marched 70 yards in 10 plays, cashing in on a nine-yard pass from Vetras over the middle to Gary for the game’s opening score. Bowdoin responded with a 56-yard drive that encompassed nine plays, but stalled out at the Amherst 18 after a failed fourth-down conversion. The Jeffs answered with an 82-yard drive, aided by a 15-yard personal foul call against Bowdoin and a 55-yard strike from Vetras to Andrew Reed. Four plays later, the Jeffs got a two-yard sweep from Bunker to make it a two-touchdown game.

Following a three-and-out by the Polar Bears, Amherst closed out the first quarter with a 10-play, 55-yard drive with big yardage coming courtesy of a 23-yard pass from Vetras to Kettering. Vetras found Murphy on a slant pattern moments later to make it 21-0 after one period.

The Jeffs added a second-quarter touchdown on a 16-yard scamper by Bunker and Vetras collected his third touchdown pass of the game in the third quarter on a 55-yard bomb to Will Reed. After a Matt Rawson ’12 (Bethesda, MD) 24-yard field goal made it 38-0, Bowdoin got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter as Grant White capped an 11-play drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge with 3:23 to play.

Tying for the team lead in tackles for the second time in as many weeks were Amherst sophomore linebackers Sam Clark (Andover, MA) and Matt Pieterse (Springfield, MA), who each finished with seven. Defensive back Kevin Heller ’12 (Brooklyn, NY) had six solo tackles and broke up a pass, while lineman Kevin Ferber ’12 (Mahwah, NJ) recorded a pair of sacks and five tackles.

Brandon Quinn ’11 (Atlanta, GA) returned an interception 27 yards early in the second quarter, while Robbie Heflin ’13 (Wayzata, MN) recovered a Bowdoin fumble in the fourth period and brought it back 16 yards. Rawson was a perfect 5-for-5 on PAT attempts and 1-for-1 on field goals, also punting the ball five times for an average of 38.0 yards.

Bowdoin was led by Sean O'Malley's eight catches for 64 yards and Noone's five receptions for 63 yards. Shea completed 21 of 40 passes for 221 yards before giving way to White, who went 3-of-3 for 33 yards, adding 34 rushing yards in relief.

Amherst, which increased its winning streak to 10 games dating back to the beginning of last season, joins Williams College as the only unbeaten teams remaining in the NESCAC. The Lord Jeffs and Polar Bears will each return to action Saturday, Oct. 9, with Amherst traveling to take on Middlebury (1-1) at 1:30 p.m. and Bowdoin hosting Tufts (1-1) at 1 p.m.